Dartmouth Sociology Department Reitman and Degrange Lecture 2023. Mario L. Small, Ph.D., is Quetelet Professor of Social Science at Columbia University. "Financial Institutions, Neighborhoods, and Racial Inequality". Research has made clear that racial inequality is affected by neighborhood conditions. One important condition is the accessibility of financial establishments. We examine how living in minority neighborhoods affects ease of access to conventional banks vs. to alternative financial institutions (AFIs) such as check cashers and payday lenders, which are often more expensive and have at times been called predatory. Based on more than 6 million queries, we compute the difference in the time required to walk, drive, or take public transit to the nearest bank vs. the nearest AFI from the middle of every block in each of 19 of the nation's largest cities. Results suggest that race is strikingly more important than class, as the AFI is more often closer than the bank in well-off minority neighborhoods than in poor white ones. I discuss ongoing research on the factors underlying these differences.
Mario L. Small, Ph.D., is Quetelet Professor of Social Science at Columbia University. A University of Bremen Excellence Chair, and an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, and the Sociological Research Association, Small has published award-winning articles and books on urban inequality, personal networks, and the relationship between qualitative and quantitative methods. His books include Villa Victoria: The Transformation of Social Capital in a Boston Barrio, Unanticipated Gains: Origins of Network Inequality in Everyday Life -- both of which received the C. Wright Mills Award for Best Book -- and Someone To Talk To: How Networks Matter in Practice, which received the James Coleman Best Book Award among other honors. His most recent edited book, Personal Networks: Classic Readings and New Directions in Egocentric Analysis, with 50 contributors, is a comprehensive guide to person-centered social network analysis. Small is currently studying the relationship between networks and decision-making, the ability of large-scale data to answer critical questions about urban inequality, and the relation between qualitative and quantitative methods.